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Nadhan’s Top 5: Tenets of Enterprise Architecture that influence Applications Development

Architecture%20Capability%20Banner.pngYou are going to develop or enhance an application.  Does it really need to be developed?  How and where does it fit into the applications portfolio? Do you realize that a component is being added to the Enterprise Architecture? 


Enterprise Architecture strongly influences Applications Development starting with the rationale for the application’s existence, the manner in which it is realized using resources internal and external to the enterprise, the architectural paradigm that it has to fit within and the degree of tolerance for its customization.  Even so, very often one tends to lose sight of the foundational elements of a sound Enterprise Architecture while being immersed in the context-specific details of an Application Development project. 


Voila ! 5 tenets of Enterprise Architecture that impact the Applications Development  process.


1) Architectural Governance. Architectural Governance significantly influences Applications Development.  It defines the scope of the applications developed, the domains they cover and the architectural guidelines and standards to be adhered to within the enterprise – addressing a fundamental question -- does the application have to be developed in the first place?  Are there viable alternatives?  How does it impact the overall portfolio and what is its role in the transformation roadmap?


2) As-a-service model.  Several decades ago, home-grown custom applications development and enhancement was the only way to enable new business functionality.  In today's world of cloud computing, the as-a-service model presents a viable alternative to the enabling technological components.  Do we need this application at all within the enterprise?  Does it have to be developed, grown and maintained within the enterprise?  Can the functionality be availed from a service provider instead?  Doing so allows enterprises to focus on its core business competencies and not bother with the technical and operational maintenance of the application.  Adoption of as-a-service models within the enterprise significantly influences the need for applications to be developed in the first place. 


3) Service Orientation.  Enterprise Architecture entails the definition of the process architecture that drives the architecture of the services layer.  Technological components including applications and infrastructure enable these services.  Applications must factor in the processes they are enabling as well as the services they expose and consume.  Thus, the extent to which service orientation has been adopted within the enterprise impacts the architectural characteristics of the applications developed.


4) Standardization. Enterprise Architecture defines various standards including processes followed, technologies used as well as the logical stacks of components used to enable architectural layers.  Enterprises enforce standardization at varied levels.  Enterprises may adopt a light-weight governance model or in some cases, go for “ruthless standardization”.  The latter model has minimal tolerance for deviations – which means that most of the decisions are already made for the applications development teams.


5) Reuse.  In today's world where IT is challenged to provide services in a cost-effective manner, reuse is a key architectural tenet.  Reuse can start with process and technical architectural frameworks or be applied in the form of reusable components including code segments, project templates, use cases, test plans and process models.  Enterprise Architecture can define a structured, systematic mechanism to promote and institute reuse across the applications development lifecycle which reduces the overall applications development effort.  . 


Those are my 5 tenets.  What tenets have impacted your applications development process?


You can also check out some great information on HP’s Application Services and Applications Development for more details.

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